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The 12 Tallest Skyscrapers in New York City

tallest skyscrapers in new york city

The city that never sleeps is renowned for many things. But it’s hard not to let your first thought be of anything other than its towering skyscrapers. They are the benchmark of the city’s landscape. And although other metropolises have equaled the heights, none have quite lived up to the iconic imagery of the Big Apple.

So, what are the skyscrapers that truly dominate the NYC skyline?

And does height alone automatically equate to “wow factor”?

The following is a list of the 12 tallest skyscrapers in New York City. These 12 structures are true displays of ambitious architecture that have pushed the envelopes of their time. Some are built to showcase the most modern architectural innovation. Others are built more with utility in mind. And occasionally, a few are built to symbolize resilience against adversity. 

So, let’s dive in and see exactly what makes them so special…

The 12 Tallest Skyscrapers in New York City

1 One World Trade Center (1,776 feet)

The tallest building in New York City. Standing at a cloud-piercing height of 1,776 feet. This skyscraper is the most poignant statement of architectural rebirth in America. It took many years after the 9/11 attacks before a design was chosen that would replace what stood before it. Some called for the Twin Towers to be rebuilt as they were previously; others wanted there to be only a monument.

And some wanted nothing at all…

However, the One World Trade Centre is now largely accepted as a new symbol of America. One that boasts an exterior balancing a classic and sleek design. With an interior that fulfills life-safety systems that far exceed NYC building codes

To say it is a more solid building than the previous twin towers would be an understatement.

One World Trade Center

It is much, much stronger…

 Built with 40,000 tons of structural steel and super concrete that is seven times stronger than regular concrete, it’s one of the latest symbols of strength in America.

And unlike some of the skyscrapers on this list, it also has panoramic views of the city. Its observation deck is thoughtfully placed at the same height as the twin towers observation deck. And even today, it is still the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. So, with its stunning 360-degree views of the most iconic skyline in the world, it’s hard to find a better observatory anywhere else.

2 Central Park Tower (1,550 feet)

Central Park Tower is the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. Located on Billionaires Row. Its dazzling glass exterior is a mirror to Central Park, which can be seen in the building’s reflection.

The 179 high-end residences in this soaring tower offer some of the best views in the world. And make no mistake; this building is tall… 300 feet taller than the Empire State Building. Imagine being able to say that your apartment is in the 15th tallest building in the world.

That’s quite a line!

3 Steinway Tower – 111 West 57th Street (1,428 feet)

With a 1:24 width-to-height ratio, this building is the world’s most slender skyscraper. It has 82 floors which mostly contain apartments, and it also boasts recreation areas and high-end retail stores.

Steinway Tower also has a perfectly symmetrical view of Central Park and one that you can expect to pay top dollar for. The highest floor apartment is valued at around $100 million US.

4 One Vanderbilt (1,401 feet)

The elegant and modern One Vanderbilt has become a popular addition to the New York skyline. This environmentally sustainable building was made, in part, from recycled materials. It has also been praised for its design and harmonious placement amongst other buildings in the neighborhood. Maintaining a traditional design that blends new architectural ideas, without jumping the shark.

It has an observation deck in which you can look down vertically.

Scary stuff!

And it also has the largest glass elevators in the world, capable of carrying the weight of three cars. If that wasn’t enough, it also glows colorfully at night, making it the perfect decoration for New York’s skyline after the sun has gone down.

One Vanderbilt

5 432 Park Avenue (1,396 feet)

432 Park Avenue is a building that divides opinion. It quickly became one of the most distinctive structures in New York City. And not just because of its height. With its incredibly thin 1:15 width-to-height ratio, it is one of the thinnest-looking buildings in New York City, though not quite as slender as the Steinway Tower. 

The controversy around 423 Park Avenue?

Some have suggested that this residential building is simply a negative reminder of the increasing wealth gap in America. The simple design is seen as “too simple” by many and is considered only to be constructed for the purpose of profit.

6 30 Hudson Yards (1,296 feet)

30 Hudson Yards is the big dog of the ambitious Hudson Yards development project. Towering over its siblings at almost 400 meters in height. The observation deck offers something others don’t too. Aptly titled “The Edge,” it is the highest outdoor observatory in the Western Hemisphere.

Offering world-class views while the wind blows through your hair. Beat that!

7 Empire State Building (1,250 feet)

Probably the most iconic and historically significant structure on this list. The infamous Empire State Building is a symbol of New York City. 

A labor of blood, sweat, and tears…

Five workers lost their lives in the construction of this skyscraper between 1930 to 1931, during the famous ‘Race to the Sky.’ It then proceeded to reign as the tallest building in the world for almost four decades. More impressively, it only took one year and 45 days to construct, which is impressive even by today’s standards. 

The only drawback of the Empire State Building is that when you’re in it, you can’t see it.

Empire State Building

Because you’re already in it! 

This does explain – in part – why ‘Top of the Rock’ in the neighboring Rockefeller Center is one of the most popular observatories in New York, as it offers the best view of the Empire State Building. 

The Empire State’s Art Deco design and rich history still serve as a big draw to visitors from around the world. A structure that serves as an enduring symbol, it truly is the quintessential New York skyscraper.

8 Bank of America Tower (1,200 feet)

Of all on the list of the 12 tallest skyscrapers in New York City, the Bank of America Tower is known for its superiorly green, sustainable design. 

With multiple energy-efficient features that pave the way forward for future skyscrapers. 

These features include wind turbines, an integrated natural air ventilation system, and a curtain wall system that utilizes natural light while minimizing heat retention. As well as state-of-the-art elevators that generate electricity on their decline downwards

That’s truly impressive… 

It’s a remarkable piece of architecture that achieves new heights in sustainability, whilst maintaining a pleasing visual aesthetic.

9 3 World Trade Center (1,079 feet)

The new 3 World Trade Center is an up-to-date skyscraper in the truest sense of the word. Some of the impressive features include a custom-made device just for washing its windows. Digital wayfinding screens guide you around the building so you won’t get lost. And it’s also the first-ever skyscraper in New York City to be built with annealed glass.

That’s glass that doesn’t shatter on breaking…

So, the 3 World Trade Center is clearly here to stay!

3 World Trade Center

10 53W53 (1,050 feet)

Completed only relatively recently in 2019, the unique thing about the striking, modern 53W53 is that it is a fully transparent skyscraper. Sporting a triangular silhouette, the top of the building shows off an impressive sculptural spire that sits on top of its 149 residences.

However, just like many new tall skyscrapers, this structure faced an expected amount of backlash due to its towering height. Local residents were concerned that it would cast long shadows over Central Park. Though, since its construction, the building is considered relatively unobtrusive.

11 Chrysler Building (1,046 feet)

Since its construction, the Chrysler Building was one of the main symbols of the New York skyline. And despite new upcoming developments, it still holds its place amongst the greats. Its recognizable Art Deco spire makes this 77-storey building a landmark piece of architecture.

It was once the tallest building in New York City until it was surpassed by the Empire State 11 months later in 1931. Even so, the Chrysler Building has remained an endearing landmark for locals and tourists to this day.

12 35 Hudson Yards (1,039 feet)

Although not the tallest building on this list, 35 Hudson Yards is the biggest by mass. The residential hotel tower still soars above most buildings. And the convenient location also offers an array of benefits. Built on the famous Hudson Yards development, this area covers 28 acres. Making it the largest private development in the United States.

New York, New York

If you’re inspired by NYC and all of its wonders, then why not check out our latest guides to the 15 Biggest Celebrities Who Live in NYC or even the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in NYC?

We also recently did a comprehensive stack-up of LA vs. NYC Living in 2023.

And if you know someone thinking of moving to NYC…

Then let us help you with that! Find out anything from How to Get a Work Permit in New York to the Best Sites to Find A Job in New York City, as well as The Best Cheap Renters Insurance in New York.

We can even confirm which are the Safest Neighborhoods in New York City at the moment. And we also answer popular user questions, such as Why Are There No Walmarts in New York City?

OK, back to…

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. New York City’s tallest skyscrapers, as of today.

Which building is the most impressive? And what will this list look like 20 years from now? Will we remember what the Empire State is?

Of course, we will!

But what is less certain is how highly deemed these structures will be in the eyes of the public in the future. It’s not easy to create something with a timeless appeal. And there is also only limited real estate to work with.

But when it comes to memorable buildings, every one on my list certainly makes it into the real estate of our minds!

We love you, New York!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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